• Graduation Year: 2017

Oluwatobi Raji

Major: Biological sciences

Minor: Africana Studies

Why did you choose Biological Sciences as your major?

Since the onset of the Syrian Civil War, I have made myself personally responsible for the wellbeing of marginalized and neglected people. Because of their race, gender, sexuality, and/ or socioeconomic status, certain demographics do not receive tolerable medical care. After this realization, I discovered several organizations dedicated to helping those who live on the fringes of society, including refugees and internally displaced populations. The ongoing European Migrant Crisis and the Rohingya Crisis have cemented this resolve. For this reason, I decided to become a doctor, specifically, a doctor who addresses and treats local, national, and international abuses. The first step towards actualization meant a formal schooling in Biological Sciences.

What did you like most about it?

Science, particularly biology, is a process of discovery wherein new information is gleaned everyday. Moreover, science is a potent tool I wield to understand the world around me; it’s the lens with which I use to explore the world.
As such, my favorite part of majoring in Biological Sciences was the volume of knowledge I gleaned and subsequently used to refine my exploration and understanding of the world. The clearest example of this is when I took Principles of Ecology and understood the basic principles of climate change well enough to know that it was not a hoax.

What is your current position, what do you, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am currently an AmeriCorps member through the Jewish Renaissance Foundation in Perth Amboy, NJ, and a Medical Scribe at Children’s Specialized Hospital in Hamilton, NJ.
As an AmeriCorps member, I study the more insidious conditions that effect health. Such conditions, or, social determinants of health, rather, include the social environment, the physical environment, education, socioeconomic status, the existence of food deserts, and genetics. Since September, I have worked to address all of the broader factors that influence health by placing a specific focus on reducing and eliminating disparities amongst various subpopulations, driven in part by social determinants of health. Most importantly, however, I have taught others the ways in which we can improve population health without administering direct patient care. And so, I enjoy my job because I get to affirm your right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, which, as I mentioned earlier, is why I decided to become a doctor.

My role as a Medical Scribe is grounded in the clinical aspect of health and healthcare. Nonetheless, the aforementioned social determinants of health are huge forces in the patients’ lives. This is clear to me whenever I record pertinent medical information and document [emotionally-charged] patient-clinician encounters in the Electronic Medical Record. Naturally, I enjoy shadowing the highest-rated Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Doctor in the state because it consolidates my knowledge of the ways in which health, particularly neurodevelopmental disabilities like Autism and ADHD, are influenced by insidious conditions. Further, I enjoy scribing because it has also consolidated my capacity to empathize with others and understand the totality of the human experience. Getting paid to learn how to talk and write like a doctor is pretty cool too.

What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?

During my final year at Rutgers, I was recruited by Teach for America to teach Biology in an underserved community in New Haven, Connecticut.

I was recruited based on my membership to The G.O.Y.A. Project, a community service organization wherein I was Vice President and Treasurer.

How did you move from that first job to your current position?

Navigating through the professional world as an indecisive twenty-two year old, I am still trying to find the best way to actualize my aspirations before I begin formal training as a medical professional.

After remembering that I wanted to address and treat local, national, and international abuses of your right to the highest attainable standard of health, I rescinded my candidacy as a Biology Teacher and became a Policy Maker, through AmeriCorps, working in Perth Amboy to create effective change that shatters restrictive borders to healthy living, otherwise known as social determinants of health.

Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?

Organic Chemistry showed me that the way I studied in high school wasn’t enough to get me through college and eventually medical school. If I was serious about becoming a doctor, I needed to change how I studied, which included how I managed my time.

What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?

First: Take classes outside of your major! Don’t adopt or restrict yourself to a draconian premed identity; you are more than a premedical student. Let your coursework reflect your personality! College is the perfect time to discover who you are—or aren’t.
Second: As a prospective Rutgers student, irrespective of your major, I charge you to mark yourself as a champion of the vulnerable and the marginalized, the internally displaced and the forgotten; I charge you to recognize the ways in which you can affect an entire population and to realize that you can improve population health without administering direct patient care; I charge you to make yourself personally responsible for the wellbeing of others and to address issues of health, poverty, and inequality.

Good luck!!


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